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Journal Article

The Continuous Recombination of Codification and Personalisation KM strategies: A Retrospective Study  pp185-195

Ettore Bolisani, Antonella Padova, Enrico Scarso

© Apr 2020 Volume 18 Issue 2, Editor: Eduardo Tome, pp91 - 195

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It is increasingly considered important to understand how companies plan their Knowledge Management (KM) strategy. The literature provides evidence that there may be different possible approaches to KM strategy. A significant distinction has been made between “codification” and “personalization”. Sometimes, these two approaches have been seen to be alternative to one another. In other cases scholars argued that a company can follow a strategy that mixes the two approaches depending on diverse intertwined factors. Still, on this topic, the literature provides various and sometimes contrasting results that need clarification and confirmation. Especially, there is the need to understand if changes in internal and external conditions may induce modifications in a firm’s KM strategy.The goal of the study is to analyse how the mix of codification and personalisation can vary over time in the same company, due to changing organizational and environmental conditions. With this purpose, the evolution of KM initiatives of a multinational company was investigated. The findings of the study confirm that the strategic mix can change over the years due to modifications in the factors of the company’s internal and external context. Furthermore, the case shows that the different factors have different weight and play a different role in influencing such changes. Specifically, in the investigated case, the factors related to the competitive context affected the evolution of the KM strategy more significantly than internal factors (which were just enablers or constraints of the evolutionary path). In addition, the study shows that this classic distinction between codification and personalization may not be easy to use in practical terms, due to the complexity of KM activities and needs in a company: this point can represent a fresh start of a future research agenda.


Keywords: KM strategy, Codification, Personalisation, Case study, Longitudinal study


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